A small ribbon cutting ceremony that was held on Wednesday, May 1, marked the official opening of the new soundside parking area at Kite Point, a popular watersports destination just north of Buxton.
National Parks of Eastern N.C. Superintendent David Hallac, County Commissioner Danny Couch, REAL Watersports Co-Founder Trip Forman, and Earl Fountain from the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative participated in the event. A couple of members of the kiteboarding community also lent a hand with the cut, including Kevin Langeree from the Netherlands, who is considered to be one of the best kiteboarders in the world.
The parking area measures approximately 72 feet by 250 feet, and can accommodate roughly 50 vehicles. Constructed by contractor Yerkes South, Inc. out of Pensacola, the parking area is comprised of clay and shell material, which makes it accessible for all vehicles.
Both the Kite Point parking area and the new Buxton Day Use Area, (which is currently in process), were earmarked as two out of 29 potential projects that were identified in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Proposal to Facilitate Additional Public Beach Access Project in June of 2013.
Trip Forman, who championed the construction of the Kite Point parking area for years before it came to fruition, says that the new availability of parking will make Kite Point a safer destination.
“Kite Point has been one of the original kite launches [on Hatteras Island] since 1998, and the busier it became, the more that vehicles began parking on the highway,” he says. “You would have upwards of 50-60 cars parking on the side of the highway in that area, with people unloading gear, getting changed out of wetsuits, or crossing the highway with 55 mph traffic. So the need for a dedicated parking area became apparent fairly quickly.”
Forman also adds that the site isn’t just popular with watersports fans – it is an attractive destination for families as well.
“That area is also a really popular spot for families to hang out on the beach and go swimming in non-ocean conditions,” he says. “It won’t just be used by kiteboarders, but also families teaching their young kids how to swim.”
Since opening just a week or so ago, (and even while it was under construction), the new parking area has been noticeably popular as the spring watersports season is in full swing. There has also been an equally noticeable lack of vehicles parked along N.C. Highway 12 in between Avon and Buxton, which was one of the primary goals of the project for stakeholders.
“Hats off to David Hallac and everyone at the National Park, and everyone who was responsible for the project,” says Forman. “It’s just awesome that the park is recognizing and embracing the sport of kiteboarding, because it brings more people to the Outer Banks, and it brings new people to the Outer Banks… not just from the East Coast, [but] from all over the world.”
“We want to thank the park for making improvements that will help the sport be able to grow here, and will make the park a better place to visit – not only for kiteboarders, but for families and anyone who wants safe access to the water.”